An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — West Virginia recently became the 23rd state to receive an exemption that allows people with concealed weapons permits to purchase a weapon without a background check.
At first glance, that would seem to be a problem-free step. Someone who has received a concealed weapons permit already has been reviewed by his or her local sheriff’s office. If they had a record of domestic violence crimes, other felonies or mental illness, that should have surfaced in the sheriff’s review.
But concealed weapons permits are good for five years, and it is possible that the permit holder could commit a crime or develop a mental problem during that period. According to state law, that concealed weapons permit then should be automatically revoked, but some are concerned there is no consistent system in place to make sure that happens. If it doesn’t, it’s possible that someone with a permit could purchase a gun even though they shouldn’t be allowed to do so.
Kanawha County, for example, has an officer that devotes much of his time to trying to keep the rolls of the permit holders up to date, the Charleston Gazette reported. The officer checks indictments, arrest records and other court records. But officials recognize it is not a fool proof system.
Other county sheriffs say they do not have the staffing to make those cross checks.